Graveyard Shift The Best Intelligent Horror Movies  

Ranker Film
60.8k votes 4.9k voters 65.3k views 104 items

List Rules Vote up the best intelligent horror movies.

If you think horror movies are nothing more than gore, gratuitous violence, slashers slashing, and supernatural creatures wreaking havoc, think again; intelligent horror movies demonstrate that smart horror exists – and is really good to boot. The best intelligent horror films operate at multiple levels, weaving social commentary into plot lines that are equal parts thought provoking and terrifying. 

From Jordan Peele's Get Out and its thematic interpretation of modern American racism to John Krasinski's A Quiet Place and its "silence experiment," there's no shortage of films that prove horror is actually smart. But what are the smartest of the intelligent horror genre? Are some supposedly intelligent horror films just not so?  

1
1,705 480
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The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

2
1,660 473
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

3
1,835 538
Split is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Split James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley

4
1,230 338
A Quiet Place is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
A Quiet Place John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe

5
1,720 530
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Get Out Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams

6
1,202 337
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Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

7
1,154 399
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The Exorcist Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

8
1,212 453
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The Conjuring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King

9
1,104 421
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The Others Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

10
977 381
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Insidious Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson

11
1,172 478
It is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
It Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Jeremy Ray Taylor

12
632 245
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added Carrie John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie

13
591 227
A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added A Nightmare on Elm Street Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

14
537 199
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

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David Lamotte added Sinister Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Thompson

16
557 214
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added 28 Days Later Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris

17
787 345
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
American Psycho Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe

18
909 453
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The Cabin in the Woods Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver, Amy Acker

19
926 464
Saw is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Saw Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith

20
638 311
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The Devil's Advocate Charlize Theron, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves

21
782 419
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Ring Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox

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22
584 308
Don't Breathe is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Don't Breathe Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto

23
712 403
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Final Destination Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, Devon Sawa

24
370 174
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David Lamotte added The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

25
666 400
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Shaun of the Dead Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Bill Nighy

26
708 431
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The Purge Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke, Adelaide Kane

27
380 196
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal

28
371 190
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
1525046840750 added Rosemary's Baby Mia Farrow, Tony Curtis, John Cassavetes

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383 205
The Mist is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added The Mist Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

30
324 164
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David Lamotte added Hellraiser Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence

31
341 185
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David Lamotte added The Descent Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid

32
588 375
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Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

33
457 280
Let the Right One In is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Let the Right One In Lina Leandersson, Tom Ljungman, Philip Hersh

34
298 163
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1525046840750 added Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

35
595 397
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Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

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277 153
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David Lamotte added The Evil Dead Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

37
327 196
Zombieland is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added Zombieland Emma Stone, Amber Heard, Bill Murray

38
293 169
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1525046840750 added The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette

39
305 186
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David Lamotte added Mama Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Daniel Kash

40
253 146
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David Lamotte added An American Werewolf in London Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall

41
240 144
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David Lamotte added From Dusk till Dawn Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino

42
520 386
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The Babadook Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Adam Morgan

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247 153
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David Lamotte added House on Haunted Hill Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook

44
381 275
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg

45
213 131
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David Lamotte added Dawn of the Dead Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico

46
227 144
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David Lamotte added 28 Weeks Later Rose Byrne, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner

47
472 367
Paranormal Activity is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Paranormal Activity Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Randy McDowell

48
199 123
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David Lamotte added Evil Dead Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, Shiloh Fernandez

49
495 393
The Blair Witch Project is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Blair Witch Project Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

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380 300
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District 9 Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood